2020 National Seminar

What topics will you cover?

This year’s agenda is robust. On the first full day of the seminar we’ll cover guidelines that apply to the most common offense types, including firearms, drug trafficking and economic crimes. We’ll also cover violent crimes and sex offenses, examining some of the complexities of sentencing involving multiple counts of conviction for those offenses. On Thursday, we’ll have a full day’s worth of case law updates, as well as sessions on criminal history and its implications for immigration offenses, career offender status, and eligibility for the safety valve, sentencing involving multiple counts of conviction, sentencing scenarios, and emerging technologies. Finally, this year’s session on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO offenses) will feature a panel of practitioners as well as an explanation of how the guideline works. On Friday, BOP staff will cover the latest developments related to the First Step Act, and will answer audience questions about programming, designations, custody credit, and much more.

That all sounds really great, but also really advanced. Should I attend if I’m new to federal sentencing?

Absolutely. There are various ways you can get up to speed. We have three interactive courses online that are introductory level. Federal Sentencing: The Basics provides an overview of the federal sentencing system, and is based on the primer of the same name. Basic Relevant Conduct and Basic Criminal History provide an overview of two important aspects of guideline application. And, for the first time this year, we will provide introductory level courses on Tuesday afternoon, before Wednesday’s opening plenary session. Tuesday’s courses include Criminal History and Relevant Conduct, two foundational concepts that are key to understanding federal sentencing. We strongly encourage those new to federal sentencing to attend the intro sessions and to stay for the entire seminar.

I have questions about sentencing but I’m not sure you’re going to cover them.

No problem! Commission training staff will be on-hand throughout the seminar to answer your guideline and federal sentencing practice questions. Just come up to the HelpLine Live table at registration and ask!

How much does the seminar cost?

There is no cost to register.

Will I receive CLE credit?

Pre-approval for CLE accreditation has been made to all state bar associations.

What have others said about our training programs? (Comments may be edited for clarity.)

“Use of interactive training, examples, and scenarios was extremely helpful. Much better than lecture format. This practical application facilitates learning.” – Probation Officer

“The fact patterns and mini tests are excellent ways of helping me retain and process the information.” – Judge

“This was an outstanding seminar. The lecturers were well-informed, presented the information in common sense, straightforward, and entertaining manner.” – CJA Panel Attorney

“I just found out that I won this appeal. We appellate defense lawyers don’t get to say that very often. . . you had two very informative presentations on the categorical approach in general, and about sex offenses that helped inspire my argument. – Defense Attorney

“I believe it is very important for USPOs to attend the National Seminar at least every few years to keep up with the constant changes in the guidelines. The presenters are always the most effective part of the training. Their knowledge base and experience is first rate.” – Probation Officer

“I use the workbook provided to us at the conference all the time.” – Probation Officer

“Frankly great session. In my 25 years of practice this is the first CLE that I learned and enjoyed every section of it. Thanks.” – Defense Attorney

“Best and most informative CLE I've ever attended. No kidding.” – CJA Panel Attorney

“Very helpful and informative. I enjoyed the audience participation with the clickers.” – Law Clerk

“The app was great as I had access to the slide shows and to all the materials presented. Even if you could not attend a session one could look over the materials covered.” – Probation Officer

“I wanted to express my appreciation for your preparation in the training of the Drugs and Guns guidelines and related issues last week. I had sentencing yesterday and the contested issue was mainly the 4-level enhancement for gun trafficking. The Court determined it applied in our case. I used several of your handouts to assist the Judge in making his decision and he expressed his appreciation for my help to my supervisor. I have never been so grateful for the training in my career as I was yesterday.” – Probation Officer